In a new research report ‘Better business: Councils shaping markets for public value’, which was commissioned by APSE and written by NLGN, the organisations argue that whilst local businesses can bring valuable social, environmental, and economic benefits to local places, some private sector markets are failing to meet social needs and creating negative outcomes relating to ill health, financial vulnerability, and poor educational attainment which are picked up by local public services. Whilst national governments have a clear role to play in fixing these, local intervention can be preferable, or complementary, to a wider national approach.
The report provides a range of positive recommendations to enable councils to nudge or ‘budge’ business towards more socially responsible products and business practices.
The report outlines the opportunity for councils to:
This report will be of great interest to those with a role in public policy and service delivery and will act as a useful guide in exploring what councils could do to better influence local markets. It is not a crude call for more regulation – although regulation has a role to play in some areas, but sets out the potential steps to ‘nudge’ or ‘budge’ businesses into better practices.